My twenty year old son is pretty crazy about old cars and we share the same sentiment about being born in the wrong era. He rolls his eyes when I tell him, though, that these were actually terrible cars; he thinks I'm just being cynical. In his almost five years of driving experience he's never had to experience a breakdown out on the road or even cold weather starting. Turn the key and go is all he's ever known. And that's saying an awful lot considering the 1996 Camaro he drives is even older than he is. And oh how we scoffed at electronic engine controls and fuel injection back in the day.
Charger was all new for 1971 and rode on an updated version of Chrysler's intermediate B body platform that had been their full size platform between 1962 and 1964. The best looking and most valuable Chargers are the 1968-1969 models which gained a lot of fame from the Dukes of Hazzard TV show. Dodge mucked up the design for 1970 before they jumped the shark completely in 1971 with this thing. Side note, on the Dukes of Hazzard, when the availability of 1968-1969 Dodge Chargers became scarce, producers of the show started using 1970 Chargers with trim pieces salvaged from wrecked 1968-1969 Chargers.
The engines were carry for 1971 but things changed for 1972 when Chrysler increased the bore on the venerable 383 pushing overall capacity out to 400 cubic inches. Blame ever increasing federal regulations. Ordered to reduce tail pipe pollutants, The Big Three dropped compression. To off set the drop in power that came with the drop in compression, they increased the size of their engines. That did nothing for gas mileage of course but at least buyers couldn't tell that their new car had less go than their old car. At least for a while. As the '70's droned on it became increasingly hard for The Big Three to hide the fact that engine performance was not what it used to be.
No doubt my son would swoon over this baby blue Charger (horrible color) and go on and on about how boring today's cars are. I look at these cars now and wonder how people used them as daily drivers. They're so big for being big's sake (this is a "mid size" car too), handle and brake horribly, fall apart just sitting there and inhale gas worse than today's biggest SUV's. No wonder the first energy crisis in October of 1973 was such an eye opener but what did American's know? What they deserved were better cars and most of them would have readily signed on the doted line for a vehicle that had less style and was more reliable and got better mileage. Careful what you wish for.
I forget where I found our subject here but it's for sale for around $35,000. Hardee. Har-har. Kid you not. That's a lot of money for an American car of this vintage that's not a Corvette and for anything made after 1967. What's more, it needs a power train swap and a suspension upgrade just to make it drive-able. I'd keep it stock looking but modernize everything else about it. How much would that run? Probably about $35,000. Now I'm feeling sorry for my bank account.